Channel Outlaws is a high octane, no b.s. podcast focused on cloud, telecom, and the channel, brought to you weekly by Brian Leonard of Intelisys. He brings in “top performers…these are the rebels, the trailblazers, the square pegs in round holes who stop at nothing to provide their customers the best solutions possible”.
A scroll through the archives of Channel Outlaws proves Brian wasn’t just flattering me with this next statement. “I really hate most marketing agencies, but I really really like what your team does and what you brought to the table”.
Listening to this quick-paced podcast, you’ll be privy to marketing strategy that, if put into action, can help you gain some big wins. Before hitting start, get a pen and paper and jot down key points. Some of them really are gold.
I wrote this blog post to give you a taste of the great talk I had with Brian Leonard, host of the Channel Outlaws podcast. Three takeaways at the end could even help you solve your current or next marketing problem. If you’re still unsure of your next step, at least you’ll know why beer lovers might miss the bliss point if they aren’t careful!
7 Questions & Answers to Start…
Q: Can you tell us about who you are and how you got started?
A: We started out as a product marketing agency. We take it upon ourselves to learn your business as much as you know your business and try to be your product, service, and marketing champion.
We want to be the ones who speak to your customers intelligently. And we want to give you alternative ways to position and message things. That’s the most important…the strategy stuff that most marketing agencies shy away from.
But we love it. In fact it’s our main focus.
Q: What makes you different than the thousands of other marketing firms out there?
A: There’s three things I think any size of sales partner should expect. The first thing…marketing needs to understand what sales is selling, whether it’s the features and functions, the services, suppliers, the differentiators…marketing needs to be able to…take what the sales engineer tells them and take that into marketing speak. If you don’t understand what sales is selling then you are creating fluff. So the first one is being a product champion.
Number two is being a sales champion. A marketer needs to understand the objections that prospects give your salesperson. So (we) need to understand the decision making process of the prospect, the biases and prejudices of that buyer in their sales journey. So the marketer can create messaging to instil confidence in that prospect.
Number three is…to educate sales on the marketing process. Marketers have metrics, cost to conversion…and we need to explain to our sales team why such and such a campaign would yield results.
Q: Why would one of our top partners work with a company like yours?
A: (Because you’ll get a) marketer who…gets respect from sales (engineers) and…(salespeople). If you’ve got those (boxes checked) you’ve got a winner and now you’ve got marketing that is naturally aligned with sales.
It’s okay to have a campaign that fails. That’s just part of what we do in marketing. We fail most of the time.
But it’s not okay to have a campaign that fails and have no idea why it failed because it wasn’t measurable. It was just a shock approach.
Note: I’ll add here that another significant reason to work with a company like ours is our deep understanding of the benefit of using indirect sales channels. In today’s online environment, it’s wise to create as many opportunities as possible through like resellers, sub-agents, VARs,and system integrators, the channel
Q: What 3 questions could sales partners ask that will help them know if this is the right (marketer) or not?
A: The first question I would ask…is how…in your previous job…(did you go about) understanding that company’s products or services. What did you do to become more knowledgeable, technically, about the company’s offerings?
Another question is how do you measure the success of your marketing campaigns.
If they talk about social media likes, shares, and retweets…you’re talking to a marketer who doesn’t understand the bottom line numbers.
The third question I would ask is (if) everything in the market is measurable. And see what they say. I like to understand where they’re coming from in terms of campaigns that are more, say, awareness and branding…and other campaigns that are directly related to conversion, demand generation, lead generation, and ultimately building a pipe.
Q: Where do you see the biggest bang for the buck…money well spent and money wasted, in general?
A: If you want to get to the next level…you’ve got to excel in certain demographics and certain buyers. Whether it’s verticals…solution based, pain based…security based.
Whatever the niche is, you’ve got to excel and be the 1% of whatever you do better than most. Double down on what’s working and invest more into tools…processes…team and training (and) whatever buying persona they are currently winning.
Replicate that over and over, as opposed to trying a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Opportunity here in healthcare…manufacturing opportunity over there and so on. That’s going to get you revenue in terms of survival but it’s not going to help you scale.
Note: Promoting and selling your product through third party providers is money well spent. For example, you can provide banners and other ad tools to affiliates in an effort to increase traffic and conversions. Affiliates are great because they promote you on their sites and lists. The beauty of affiliates, of course, is that you only pay for their service when your products are sold.
Q: What are your thoughts on social media?
A: That word social media just bugs me. Facebook is a channel…where you can reach your prospects and your prospects can reach you. Twitter is another channel. LinkedIn is another channel.
You need to approach each channel independently, with an independant strategy, resources, determine the ROI for each, and act appropriately. And for different companies you’re going to have to put more time and effort into specific channels.
Q: What are your thoughts on myths of marketing with Google?
A: It’s not that easy. You can’t just throw money into SEO and…Google AdWords and start getting leads. SEO is about taking time to make your site more findable against your competition on certain keywords.
On the paid side…there’s just not enough volume for the keywords that most of our sales partners want to generate. The other part of the problem is that some competitive keywords are very expensive…for the average sales partner it’s way too cost prohibitive (e.g. a keyword like “cloud solution’ could be $100 per click).
The thing about channels…
This is just a portion of the Channel Outlaws interview. The full podcast reveals more nuggets that Brian so effortlessly teased out of me.
Before you go, here are 3 takeaways from the podcast. But first…if you’d rather just hear more, you can do that by jumping over here.
- If you want to get to the next level, you’ve got to be the 1% of what you do better than most. Double down on what’s working and replicate your process over and over. On various indirect sales channels.
- Look for a marketer who thoroughly gets and communicates with your sales people. A marketer who thinks in terms of sales channels.
- To get to the absolute core of your message, you have to write meaty content on your company’s About page. It’s your site’s most important page. At [00:49:28]: description of the XYZ, ABC exercise to see how to crisply relate your capabilities to your prospect.
Two quick questions for you: Do you know why beer lovers might miss the bliss point if they aren’t careful? (Wink. Wink. Nudge.) Serious stuff. And do you know what most of your prospects visiting your Homepage want to read about in the top part of the page? Click here and leave a message. I will respond to each and every comment you leave me. Or if you’d rather just connect, click here.